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(29 Posts)
NewTeacher Fri 15-Aug-08 14:31:08


I'm new to this board and need some advice. We had an au pair last year who was absolutley great, she didnt like spicy food so always made her own food not that she ate much apart from pasta, toast or cereal.

We have a new girl who maybe skinny as a rake but eats like she's not seen food before!

How much is too much? For example I made the kids tea yday which was chicken burgers and rolls and there were some left over so she asked if she could have her dinner with them (at 6.30) I said no problem so she ate the last 3 burgers and 2 rolls. When it came to me preparing dinner as she had eaten I dint cook for her and made chops and potatoes for me and DH (there were 5, two for me and 3 for him). AP came into kitchen at 8pm and helped herself to the largest chop and some pots so now there wasnt enough for DH who had to have cereal after as he was still hungry! When she's already eaten why the need to eat again within 2 hours?

NewTeacher Fri 15-Aug-08 14:31:44

Today at lunch she helped herself to a large piece of fish from the freezer (it was £4 and meant to feed 2) and had it for lunch! Am I being overly stingy? I get the feeling she is helping herself to stuff she wouldnt noramlly get at home but I dont see why I should be paying for luxuries.

Do I say something or keep quiet and see how things pan out over the week, she has been here for 10 days now. I just feel that I cant buy all the top of the range stuff as it gets eaten/drank so quickly! Do I go for tesco value now or buy two lots of stuff and hide the more expensive stuff. I feel such a freak doing this. But I cant afford to be buying so many groceries.

OneLieIn Fri 15-Aug-08 15:10:36

I don't know the answer. Maybe you can just ask her not to eat x please as this is for your DH's dinner.

Our AP also eats like a horse and gets through 6 cans of coke every day! I asked her what she likes and make sure she has it so she always gets something to eat that she likes. I also have asked her not to eat x because it was for supper.

SammyK Fri 15-Aug-08 15:29:39

Do you meal plan? Could you mark the things you need for meal ingredients with a little shaped sticker or something?

I do think you need to discuss it or resent will build up.

Obviously now you know she is a big eater, cater for her when you put on adult meals.

mummypoppins Fri 15-Aug-08 17:31:51

Fill her up on pasta..we had one that ate like a horse and could use a pound of mince for her spag bol for lunch !!

I had another one who was as skinny as a rake and ate sometimes 5 peices of toast for breakfast but at least it was cheap!

jura Fri 15-Aug-08 17:41:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NewTeacher Fri 15-Aug-08 18:03:11

I like that last saying very apt.

nicelady Fri 15-Aug-08 18:25:21

These types of conversations annoy me. How would you feel if you sent your 18 year old to the UK to learn English (and that is the whole point of APing) and you heard that the family was buying her Tesco Value and cheap pasta to fill her up, how utterly stingy. Especially since many of these girls come from countries that are not as wealthy as the UK. Get a life and feed the poor girl, she is not your indentured servant FFS.

QuintessentialShadows Fri 15-Aug-08 18:29:08

Nicelady you are missing the point. I get that the OP is concerned how to bring up with the AP without causing embarrasment what she can eat and what is reserved for a different meal.

demandingboss Fri 15-Aug-08 18:37:24

whats wrong with Tesco Value and pasta.....we eat it ourselves why should the au pair have any different ?

lindseyfox Fri 15-Aug-08 18:50:25

Pehaps sit with her and meal plan for the week for the family and ask her to make suggestions and if having chops say ok i eat x amount, husband eats x, children eat x how many extra shall i get for you.

think if you meal plan she will have an idea of what is expected quantity wise.

also maybe get her a biscuit tin for her room and fill with kit-kats or shops own brand small snack bars so she can snack on those.

i must say 5 chops between 2 is alot anyway so you guys eat well yourselves, my husband and i have just had one chop each for dinner!!

regarding 6 cans of coke another poster put. - is this a good example to be setting your children letting the au-pair drink that much coke?? In 500mls of coca cola their is 15 teaspoons of sugar - we shouldnt have more than 10 teaspoons a day!!

demandingboss Fri 15-Aug-08 18:53:12

LF thats very sensible. Our Au Pairs used to live in the annexe with their own fridge and I always filled it with snacky stuff as I hated to think they would be hungry ever but I dont think there is anything wrong with getting them to understand that they eat as part of the household and not all of it!

Its not a 5* hotel experience after all despite what nicelady has to say.

cheapskatemum Fri 15-Aug-08 18:56:26

Our previous au pair would eat a whole packet of bacon (8 rashers) and I must admit I resorted to buying cheaper bacon (regard my name!). Having had au pairs over many years, I find that they are usually partial to some or other food item and if you're lucky it's something cheap like bread or rice (though even that's changing). The one that got to me most was fresh fruit, as no matter how much I bought, it was all gone by the next day, curtesy of our au pair. You have to have the discussion, otherwise resentment will ensue. My DH would be livid if he had to eat cereal 'cos the AP'd eaten his chop! Also, if you don't mention it, how is she to know what she's doing wrong? She's obviously not the type to figure it out for herself.

imananny Fri 15-Aug-08 19:07:16

maybe ap can have her own shelf in freezer that you could buy her certain meals

seems a little piggyish to eat at 6pm ( and 3 burgers and 2 rolls - so not just a snack)and then again another big meal at 8pm

I did think Ap's ate with the family in evening,though guess it would also be nice to have time alone with your hubby

nothing is wrong with value stuff but if you NORMALLY eat nice stuff, then would be nice for ap to eat the same

maybe you could say that she has a sandwich for lunch and then a proper meal in eve - so she kinda gets the idea

I must admit, I would be mortified blush if my mb thought I was a pig!!

NewTeacher Fri 15-Aug-08 20:36:54


Firstly NiceLady I am not being mean and TBH I think you have missed the point, she had already eaten her meal and I was annoyed that she felt she needed to eat again. Theres plenty of snacky stuff and fruit she could have had. Also the fish would have made a nice curry for 3 not a meal for one!

As for the chops they were mini chops not the big massive ones so 5 between 2 is not alot!

The au pair eats what we have in the house and she is asked if there is anything specific that she may want that is not what I have a problem with. Its like another poster has already said be generous not extravagant.

catepilarr Fri 15-Aug-08 21:49:18

where is the aupair from? i and most of people i talked to about food in the uk find that in this country you a/ eat less than we are used to b/you eat your bigest meal in the evening. in my country you would have a soup and a main course for lunch and cooked supper too. dont know how you do it but if your body is set to have a cooked meal at lunch time you are just going to be starving hungry by 4 when the kids have their tea despite the snacking all day long (and filling someone on buiscuits instead of proper food is bad). so telling her she is to eat sandwiches for lunch is not going to help. if i actually ate the british 'bread' i would likely need more than five pieces of it to fill me up.

i usually cook myself something simple for lunch, like rice and vegetable, pasta with sauce or have a carton soup. so it's a cooked meal that fills me up but not fancy or expansive. i never take meat unless it's specifically bought for me or anything that looks special.

but i have to say that what you describe looks a lot of food to me, too. have you asked her what she eats at home?

catepilarr Fri 15-Aug-08 22:12:24

i have to ad that i dont like the 'I've told new AP that we expect her to eat "as generously as we do, but not extravagantly". ' at all. different people eat different food and in different quantities so why the autor of this should be a measure??

and to this 'Especially since many of these girls come from countries that are not as wealthy as the UK. ' - the countries as a whole might be poorer but the different lifestyles and values dont necesarilly come from that.

Tiramissu Fri 15-Aug-08 22:20:47

agree with catepilarr.
Also, is she new in u.k.? what is expensive in one country might be cheap in another. In my country fish is the cheapest food you can eat. So maybe yes she was eating this food back home...

MatNanPlus Fri 15-Aug-08 22:24:05

New Teacher I think sitting down and meal planning is a good idea for you both, less confusion / more understanding.

cheapskatemum Fri 15-Aug-08 22:59:31

Tiramissu, you make a good point. My AP who kept finishing off my fruit was from Turkey and her father was a farmer. In the end we worked out a system: I gave her cash to go to the market on Wednesdays to stock up, as I was at work, I went on Saturdays. The days in between we ate dried, tinned, frozen fruit!

When I've had APs who prefer to eat their main meal at lunchtime, they've reheated the previous night's meal midday and eaten tea with the DCs. Eating with the children is still eating with the family. I give APs the choice of eating with me & DH or with DCs, as we eat too late for some people's tastes.

Tiramissu Fri 15-Aug-08 23:07:50

Cheapskatemum, you remind me something funny now. My first week in uk, me and my then boyfriend went to sainsburys. We were skint so we desided to buy 'very cheap food'.We filled the trolley with fruits, fish, extra virgin olive oil and about 20 aubergines!!!! Needless to say, when we went to the till we had heart attack and had to put everything back

catepilarr Fri 15-Aug-08 23:17:00

tiramisu :DDDD poor you, i can imagine the shock. did you not check the labels for price?

Tiramissu Fri 15-Aug-08 23:21:36

We only checked some (fruits) but they were in pounds and we thought is kilos!!!!

nannyma Sat 16-Aug-08 00:07:16

NewTeachet maybe you can ask her if she preffer to have dinner with kids or you. Maybe you can ask her what does she like to eat during the day that you can plan what you can cook for dinner.

Maybe you can ask her, if she preffer to have some extra money, so she can try all differen food or she can go shopping with you and you can buy her what she wants.
Hopefuly she will finde that some staff is expensive and will think about that and I do beliwe that she will not pick the expensive staff ...

Maybe next time when she will eat something what yoy wanted for dinner tell her ... tell her that you just wanted to make a fish for husband or something like that ...

I used to be an au pair in a few families and all of them was different. First one was indian and I just could not eat with them as everything was too spice! So we decided that I will cook for myself. In another family I was shopping with mum and had small fridge. Which does not mean, that I could not use bread, cereals ect from their kitchen ... another family gave me £30 for week (5y ago) as they are vegetarians.
I used to eat with kids as 9pm is quite late for me so I had dinner at 5 and then some fruits.
All af them asked me what do I like so I tould them and that is it.
Try some of this ... but dont tell her that she is eating to much or she cant eat some food because its too expensive (better to tell that the expensice is for children as its organic or moething like that) ... you really dont know her background. Where she is from?

jura Sat 16-Aug-08 11:10:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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